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Are we or Aren't we-The Never Ending Separation Saga


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Here is a brief overview of my ongoing predicament


1. April 2009-My wife says she is "done" with the marriage and asks me to leave the house. Our house sells in approximately two weeks and she moves into a new house and I move into an apartment.


2. August 2009- After I complete counseling on my own, my wife finally agrees to start "hanging out" but refuses to go to counseling or talk about the relationship. After a few weeks of doing things socially but otherwise ignoring the problem. I attempt to engage her in a conversation about our marriage and she responds that "this isn't working, we tried and it failed".


3. After Thanksgiving, my wife says that it was difficult not being with me during the holidays and agrees to go to counseling. We start doing things by ourselves and with our 4 year old daughter and attend counseling once per week. After a few sessions, I ask where she thinks things might be heading and she says that I am not respecting her by asking about the marriage. She says she is not going back to counseling but we continue to spend time together. We become physically intimate again and I try my best to not to talk about the marriage. She indicates that if I discuss things again she is "done".

4. We agree to talk about whether or not I will move in on 5/25/10. This agreement was made in Mid April 2010. A couple of weeks later I have to renew my apartment lease and discover that I will be financially responsible for the next 12 months even if I do not live there. I advise my wife of the situation and ask if she would consider having our discussion early. My wife responds that this is not her problem and that she wouldn't ask me to pay her cable bill if she couldn't make the payments (kind of an odd statement) I indicate that I thought we were working towards a partnership and could work together to come up with a solution. A few days later, I propose moving in and actually keeping the apartment so that it is not as big of a committment to her. She accuses me of trying to have a backup plan and says she can't do it anymore and is going to file divorce.


Additional thoughts


A. She still says she is in love with me and can't imagine herself with anyone else.

B In my opinion my wife has passive aggressive tendencies and has difficulty with intimacy, committment, and sharing her feelings.

C. I do not know whether to cutoff all contact with her. I tried begging, love dare-everything.

D. I do not want to be a pushover or punching bag. Despite everything, I am still in love with this woman.

E. I feel like I have made a lot of positive changes over the last year. I feel like she has never seen a need to change any of her own behaviors and has played the martyr and put herself in the position of evaluator and rather than collaborator. Me telling her that she needs to change is not going to work--only cause her to obstruct things further.


I would greatly appreciate any thoughts or advice on this situation. I have a previous post from several months back that goes into greater detail about the separation if anyone is interested.



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Does she actually care about anyone else but herself? I was quite angry reading this. I would love to know just who she thinks she is. This is very selfish behaviour. It isn't fair to you or your daughter.


It shouldn't be all on her terms like this, I think you need to start putting your foot down.


Clearly she doesn't want you out of her life otherwise she wouldn't be spending so much time with you.


I'd contact her. Tell her that you are NOT happy with the way things are and that you need a definite answer of whether she wants to work on it or not. If not, then you are no longer comfortable spending time together.


Take some of the control back. She's treating you like a doormat!

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God I would love to be pursued by her instead of the other way around. I have really given all I have to communicate love, patience, and understanding. The really frustrating part is that I still have more to give to her. Sometimes I wish I didn't feel so strongly towards her and just say "screw this" and move on.

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God I would love to be pursued by her instead of the other way around. I have really given all I have to communicate love, patience, and understanding. The really frustrating part is that I still have more to give to her. Sometimes I wish I didn't feel so strongly towards her and just say "screw this" and move on.


Part of why she is acting this way is because you let her and she knows she can get away with it. I'll tell you what, I bet she would have the shock of her life if you stood up to her and stopped accepting this crap!

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Part of why she is acting this way is because you let her and she knows she can get away with it. I'll tell you what, I bet she would have the shock of her life if you stood up to her and stopped accepting this crap!


I completely agree with this. Reading the OP, I had a clear impression of goodwill on one side and selfish exploitation on the other, and the former is unfortunately fuelling the latter.


@OP: You absolutely *must* stand up to her, have a strong discussion and be quite prepared to tell her how selfish she is in no uncertain terms. You really need to show exceptional strength here, and demonstrate to her that her behaviour is driving you away.


Believe it or not, in my experience some people who behave like her (and it's depressingly common) genuinely have no idea they're behaving badly. Their lack of admission of fault on their side is not just stubborn pride, it's twisted thinking and a lack of empathy. Only when confronted with an overwhelmingly strong rejection will they stop and give a more neutral evaluation to their own behaviour. You can't tiptoe around her anymore; it's not helping you.

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Serve her with divorce papers, immediately, and see where her head is really at. Do you really want to do this dance with her forever, it's time you start to move on, this woman clearly doesn't care for you as much as she says she does(if at all).

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I also got a feeling of anger when reading your post. She is being very wishy washy and pulling you different directions as it suits her. Seems a little unfair to me to tell someone you want to get back together and work things out, then poo-poo your lease situation with the apartment. I do get a sense that she is doing this because she knows you will alwasy be there. If it were me, I'd probably persue the divorce papers as well and see if it snaps her jockstrap to make a decision. One way or the other, you deserve the decency of a decision, not being trailed along while she plays you like a violin. It is doubly hard with the child involved, but on that same note, how is the current situation teaching your daughter what healthy relationships are? Good luck and stay strong my friend, put you and your daughter first.

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I tried begging, love dare-everything.


Right... and what was the result? When you bring up where the relationship is headed, what's the answer? When you actively pursue, does that bring her closer, or seemingly push her away?


"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."


Now, you could do a 180 and lay an ultimatum on her, but that runs a high risk of making things vitriolic. A better idea may be to simply stop what you've been doing. Stop asking where the relationship is at. Stop bending over backward to show her what a great guy you are. Stop being so accommodating to her. Stop doing anything to actively pursue her, and start shifting focus to yourself. Stop unconditionally feeding her ego, and start demonstrating that your happiness isn't dependant on her. Your dynamic is completely out of whack, and the only way to change that is to quietly and matter-of-factly start becoming more indifferent and independent. This sounds counter-intuitive, but has your intuition been working so far?

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Thanks Shortpants. I have gotten a lot of advice on being the one to file for divorce. I just don't want to be the one who "gave up" and sometimes feel like she is obstructing my reconciliation efforts so I will be the one to file and she will be able to be the martyr. I love my wife, but she seems to thrive on playing the reserved, rational one while I am the emotional wear my heart on my sleeve kind of guy. It makes her look like she is in perfect control of herself and her life and I am the emotional wreck. If it was anyone else but this girl, I would have given up a long time ago. If I could will myself to fall out of love- I would

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Tired Tiger,


I know you are speaking the truth about detaching and focusing on myself. The funny thing is, going no contact is what got her to start talking about the relationship again in the first place. I am far from perfect but am always willing to admit my wrongs and try to do better. My wife only seems to let me in when I admit that it is all my fault and then she gets to put herself in the position to "give me one more chance" to see if things will be different. I just don't know how or when somebody with that mentality gets to the place where they look inward and examine how there own beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors contribute to the problem and potentially the solution. For me it took a whole lot of pain from the separation to take a hard look at myself. Sometimes I think she would sacrifice our marriage at the expense of being "right" in her own eyes. Its really sad but mostly just disappointing.

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I understand, Prober... been there, done that, have the t-shirt. Not only is your dynamic out of whack, but she is in total control of, well... everything. This is because you've been the one in the position of frantically trying to reverse your loss. She hasn't really lost anything - you're right there, and her ego knows this. Once you become indifferent and pull away, she'll eventually be faced with her own ambivalence.

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I totally understand that prober, I went through lots of turmoil when I was deciding if I could save my first marriage also. I didn't want to be the one who "gave up", when I got married I planned on being married for life, not for now. I also loved my ex dearly, I wouldn't have married him if I didn't. But it also came to a point that no matter how much I loved him, it was a toxic relationship. Also, no matter how much I loved him, I couldn't fix him and his issues, he needed to do that, or at least WANT to do that, and he claimed the issue was completely mine, had nothing to do with him. I know it hurts to feel like you are throwing in the towel and making her the martyr, but what is your option? Living in limbo for God only knows how long? Waiting for her to make the decision that will change your life? Only you know how much you can take, do everything in your power to save this marriage and relationship, but at some point you have to say "Enough!" Take care of yourself.

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My advice would be to project calm, happiness, and confidence whenever you are around her. Be friendly, but don't put your heart on the line.


put herself in the position of evaluator and rather than collaborator


BECOME the evaluator. Don't announce it though. Don't give her an ultimatum, don't beg, don't demand an answer. Just take a step back and only have correspondence about your child. -Limited contact.


If she pursues you (which I think she will) then you can evaluate whether you even want to bother with this anymore.


She already knows you want her back, right? If that has been made clear and she can't make a stable decision, you will do yourself no good by letting her control the entire situation and your fate.


Renew the lease for the apartment. It shows that you are not counting on her for anything and there is no "urgency" that she take you back. Your life goes on. Should you end up back together you could always have someone else stay in the apartment and pay the rent until the lease ends- maybe offer a reduced-rate to a friend or family member...


You have to play it cool. I agree with the poster who said that she does this because you have allowed her to. It's time to re-claim some control over the situation.

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